Descenders is an extreme downhill freeriding title for the modern era, with procedurally generated worlds, and where mistakes have real consequences.
Before I delve downhill with Descenders, I must make you abundantly aware this game is still in Early Access. The points I am about to make and elements I will be discussing will likely change, improve or disappear altogether.
Descenders boast it’s “Freestyle bike controls” and in all honestly it has every right too. Game controls are smooth and responsive and really add to the fun as you bolt it down the track. With no noticeable time limit (unless you have activated a challenge) you get a real chance to attack the track as you want, fancy making some air you can, fancy getting some speed you can. It’s an extreme sports fan’s dream as you have the freedom to explore the map you are on and challenge yourself. Following the track however will lead you to constructed ramps, jumps, themed and otherwise.
Presentation and Graphics
This game is beautiful, lovingly created world give the player a real experience aesthetically and visually. I watched in awe as I marvelled at this game world, not often can you stop and just admire the world like you can in this title. As an early access title, you get a lot of love packaged in this precursor of what’s to come and I am hoping as the game updates and I hit the tracks and slopes I find the world ever more wonderous.
Descenders is at this time a solely single player game, with no group or team element. I am not super unhappy with this I love to explore and learn the jumps and tricks. If I could challenge a friends ghost or score on a seeded map or even create my own sponsor (if I hit a certain rank/score) or team where are members can unlock t-shirts and outfits with my logo etc. that would push the boundaries of what you get from this title. I am not driven by scoreboards nor unlocking stuff, but if I can build up my own brand, with friends I could look to getting myself really invested. Player customisation would add a massive bonus to the game or even slight personalisation.
Currently, very little is on offer in regards to multiple modes, but there are going to be more stuff added in the future such as daily challenges. Tutorial tracks offer the player chances to hone their skills without the risk of penalty. Performance-based ranking gives you a real indication how well you are progressing. Getting REKT gives you a hefty penalty if you crash too often. Player leaderboard allows you to track your overall performance globally. Pick a track carefully as they can affect the success of the bonus challenges.
I have a soft spot for a well built handcrafted level. Equally, I really like the randomness and challenge that procedurally generated worlds offer. Some reviewers feel that procedurally generated games are a lazy way to develop levels. I wholeheartedly disagree, as the development team still has to make sure that every design possible can be followed, played and enjoyed. Never knowing what is around the next corner but feeling and seeing a well-built experience allows for replayability.